When viewing houses for sale, looking at each area individually ensures you know what should be asked and evaluated and can either save you from making a costly mistake, or save you from having to do make-good work later down the road.
Location And The Local Area
Location, location, location! It may sound cliche, but it is one of the most important aspects of buying a home. But, what makes for a ‘good’ location? When considering where to move to, you may wish to look at nearby schools. If you have school aged or very young children, having a good school a short commute away will certainly be helpful in the long run. Consider your proximity to shops, takeaways and supermarkets that could get busy and noisy at certain points on the day, or noisy roads or train tracks. A consideration for many buyers is also whether there is a local shop allowing you to grab a pint of milk, or if nothing is within walking distance and so access to a car is a necessity.
Although looked at more in depth during your property survey, it’s always a good idea to observe the structure when viewing a house. This can include keeping an eye out for large cracks in the walls, windows and signs of damp. These are all potential issues that could be costly to fix, so being aware of them at this early stage saves any shocks later down the line and could be used as leverage to get a better deal when making an offer on the property of your dreams.
Storage is an element often overlooked when viewing a house but it’s vitally important and could make all the difference when it comes to making a house a home. Although it can be difficult to assess all storage options, ensure you check out garages, loft spaces or smaller spaces such as under stairs cupboards and built-in wardrobes. Consider where you will keep household items such as the vacuum, cleaning supplies and towels. Older homes are often better for storage, but new build houses may need a creative mind to spot potential opportunities.
House And Garden Direction
This is something harder to judge in the winter months, as the sun is less likely to be out and showing you where it will fall throughout the day. A South facing garden is often considered the best. As the sun rises in the East and sets in the West the South side of any house will see the most amount of sunlight. This could make the difference between a house that is light and warm to one that is dark and cold. Lots of natural light is a significant benefit of a South facing garden, but also consider what windows also face this way and if this could mean too much heat in the house in summer months, such as a conservatory with no blinds or too much solar gain.
This is especially important if you are viewing a terraced or semi detached house, or a flat where sound could travel through the floor, ceiling and walls. Listen out for the neighbours and whether you are able to hear any conversations. Although insulation is something that can be improved later down the line, it doesn't come without cost. It’s also wise to ask the seller or estate agent about the neighbours, although they are unlikely to tell you if the neighbours are very loud, if they have small children for example, this will give you an idea of noises you may be able to hear. Some home buyers choose to visit a property more than once, ideally at different times of the day. If visiting in the middle of a day it may seem very quiet, but that could be due to neighbours being out or at work. This also helps in properly evaluating the local area and how busy it gets at various times. Naturally you will get some noise in a terraced house, but it’s worth checking whether the level is liveable or would affect you negatively.
We have touched on the main considerations to keep in mind when viewing a house, however it’s essential to have a list of other questions to ask when at the viewing. These could include:
- Room sizes - are these big enough for your furniture and family?
- Window quality - are they double glazed and structurally sound?
- The roof - does it need replacing or have any tiles missing?
- Power points - are there enough and in good condition?
- Water pressure - turn on a tap to ensure low pressure isn’t an issue
- Development potential - is there opportunity to extend or reconfigure if necessary?
- The garden - is it big enough and is it overlooked by surrounding houses?
- Phone reception - especially important if viewing a rural property, take out your phone and check your signal
- What is included in the price - this could include light fittings, curtains and blinds and integrated white goods
- The sellers position - ask why they are selling, if they are in a chain and how long they have lived in the property
- Security - asses how secure the property is, this includes gates, secure fences and adequate locks on doors
If you are ready to find your dream home, contact Palmer & Partners today to hear how we can help you buy a house in Colchester, Clacton, Ipswich or Sudbury. Find your local office and get in touch with our expert team, or view our list of properties for sale.